Review Summary: It's a bit more standard compared to their previous record, but it's still quite an enjoyable one nonetheless.
Without a doubt 10 Years had a lot to live up to after releasing The Autumn Effect
. Its passionate lyrics, raw sound, fantastic musicianship and sorrowful interludes set them apart from all of their alternative metal counterparts on that record and they made fantastic use of their influences that include Tool and Deftones respectively. It also boasted an amazing vocal performance from Jesse Hasek who has said himself that he actually looks up to Maynard James Keenan. Sadly the aspects that made the band stick out like a sore thumb were for the most part ditched on Division
. The raw sound and perfect flow of The Autumn Effect
no longer exists on this album and it signaled the beginning of a more commercially friendly 10 Years. Even though the album has its shortcomings it still proves itself to be quite a solid edition into the 10 Years discography.
The band has never really had a problem with writing beautifully poetic lyrics, but they have certainly been turned down a notch here. They no longer feel as purposeful and definitely seem like they are intent on giving life lessons believe it or not. Songs like “Beautiful” and “Drug Of Choice” display evident amounts of cheese, but the cheese is without a doubt well written and reside in the more positive side of the cheese spectrum. The lyrics are the biggest flaw that exists on Division
, but the music often tends to save it. “Drug Of Choice” features fantastic drumming and exceptional chemistry between the guitar and bass in the verse. Then it explodes into the compelling chorus of a lifetime that will stay in the listeners head for days. “Beautiful” is the slower track of the two, but it leaves the same lasting effect of “Drug Of Choice” due to mesmerizing music and catchy Maynard espue vocals. The album excels at creating a catchy and accessible mood, but make no mistake that this doesn’t take away from those typically passionate heavy songs that the band expertly creates.
The album kicks off with “Actions And Motives” that features engrossing bass riffs, exceptional vocals and an infectious chorus despite the lyrics being typical nu metal fare. Most of the heaviest songs on Division contain these type of lyrics, but the band’s musicianship saves them from crashing and burning. “Russian Roulette” for example showcases an incredible build of ominous guitar distortion in the beginning and maintains a certain amount of dread and atmosphere throughout the song. The band has a tendency to specialize in these types of songs, but everything dark and brooding about this album builds up to “Proud Of You” which is the closer. The track is purely acoustic driven by soothing vocals, hopeless piano melodies and breathtaking samples of a crowd in the background. Everything crushing about this song lays in the lyrics because of how Jesse basically says goodbye to a loved one on the verge of death. Jesse knows they’ll die soon and the hopelessness begins to fill us up the more Jesse lovingly sings. It’s one hell of a closer, heavy in more ways than one and makes the listeners really appreciate everything that they know and love.
Unfortunately the aspects described here used to be what the band was all about
: actually making the listener feel. This is rare for the alternative metal genre and something that Deftones, Katatonia and occasionally Chevelle were able to accomplish. These aspects hold up very well in some of the songs on here, but not as a whole. However, instead we get a very enjoyable album filled with enjoyable pop ballads, heavy yet catchy guitar driven tracks and pleasant interludes. All gripes aside Division
holds its own in the 10 Years discography. Hopefully the band will remain true to themselves and bang out another masterpiece for their next record.